Friday, June 14, 2024

French soldiers in the process of establishing control in New Caledonia’s capital


Burned out cars stand side by side after riots earlier this week. Photo: Nicolas Job / AP / NTB

Of NTB | 19.05.2024 06:49:34

War and conflicts: The operation began on Sunday and aims to restore control of a road linking the capital to the international airport after six nights of demonstrations and riots.

Over 600 heavily armed soldiers are taking part in the mission, reports the French news agency AFP.

At the latest on the night of Sunday, there were new riots, which several hundred soldiers were unable to prevent, despite the fact that a curfew, a state of emergency and a ban on Tiktok have been introduced. Among other things, unidentified groups started two fires and looted a gas station, according to the French government’s high commissioner for the territory, Louis Le Franc.

Six people have been killed and several hundred injured in the riots that began on Monday, according to figures from local authorities.

The dispute in New Caledonia is about a change in the law that will give the right to vote and thus more political influence to around 25,000 French people who have lived continuously in the territory for over ten years. Until now, the right to vote for anyone who did not live there before 1998 has been “frozen”. Some local leaders fear that the change in the law could affect the indigenous Kanak population.

In three referendums – in 2018, 2020 and 2021 – the citizens have voted yes to remain part of France. But the independence movement boycotted the previous vote and said it would never accept the result.

(© NTB)


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